What I am about to type here I think has BIG implications for the future of the churches of Christ. If you are a part of our fellowship I hope you will read this and think about it and discuss it with an eye toward the future and what we can do to really light a fire under our congregations and press forward. There are a couple of things that I think need to be discussed on a broader scale that can be achieved on a blog but I hope that posts like this will ignite a spark and get some dialogue going that will help us going forward.
1 – Our methods of evangelism used to presuppose people already knew something about Christianity and we were helping them understand our way was better than the Baptists, Methodists, etc. Today, way more people are unchurched. They may be 30 years old and never been to church before in their lives. People used to be drawn to the Church of Christ because of our doctrine and appeal to the NT as the standard. Doctrine is no longer going to get very many people in the door. Evangelism has to start with people knowing you care and seeing the church making an impact on the community. I have decided we would often do better spending as much time serving the community as we spend in a Bible class because often the ideas expressed in Bible class are not really doing much more than changing opinions rather than changing hearts.
2 – We have an identity crisis. We used to know who we are. Worst case scenario was “we are the only ones going to heaven.” Thankfully that has changed and you don’t hear that really any more but now what? Who are we? Where are we headed? What are we doing and why? It seems like we have an identity void that has to be thought through, prayed about, and a better vision cast for our future or else we are going to struggle to have a meaningful existence in the next 50 years.
3 – We have made the little issues the big issues and the big issues the little issues. We have spent so much time defining leadership to know if a woman can pass a tray and little to no time discussing spiritual growth and development and implementing plans to help people mature beyond high school (which is, by the way the very time most people begin to fall away and yet only a small percentage of churches are addressing the college and young pro demographic). We have spent way too much time and money pushing for acappella worship. We get it already. We understand from history what happened and when and we have heard the psallo argument enough times. I sometimes wonder if people really don’t know what else there is to talk about.
4 – We have done a horrible job communicating within our fellowship. In an age of the information superhighway called the internet, email, blackberries, Iphones, telephones, pagers, cell phones, facebook, you name it…we really don’t communicate with each other very well. We can talk with each other and form some networks of communication and assist each other with ministry without imposing authority structures on other autonomous congregations and elderships.
There are more but I think these 4 are HUGE and have to be discussed if we want to push forward into the next 5 to 50 years and make a meaningful difference in the world. What would you identify as the key issues and how would you go about discussing these in an organized way rather than just in a circle of 5-20 bloggers?